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Japan Looks at Floating Solar Plants as Protection from Earthquakes

Japan is still haunted by last year’s disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The resource poor country is trying to find a suitable replacement for its nuclear power industry which it is trying to move away from.

Renewable energy sources offer the most attractive and safest option, yet Japan has decided that it should also look for a way in which to reduce the risk of damage from the numerous earthquakes that the island nation experiences every year. A clever idea to keep energy installations safe from earthquakes and tsunamis, is to build them on floating structures.

They have already installed a 100 kilowatt wind turbine about half a mile off the coast of the Nagasaki prefecture. Performance and maintenance data will be collected throughout the year, after which, depending on the success of the project, it will be replaced with a 2MW turbine.

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Now the Japanese are looking at floating solar islands. Plans have been made to install 10 floating solar parks with a combined power capacity of 20MW. The first two installations will be located in a nature reserve in Saitama and a swamp in Osaka, with a total capacity of 3MW.

Floating solar panels are not a new idea; they are already used at a Nappa Valley winery as a means of creating solar electricity, without using valuable land for the solar arrays.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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